‘Music Forward,’ CPR Classical’s Newest Show, Explores Modern Classical

Photo: Music Forward collage
Here's a taste of the composers whose work will be featured on Music Forward. Top row, left to right: Laurie Anderson, Mason Bates, Philip Glass. Middle row: Missy Mazzoli, Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly. Bottom row: Caleb Burhans, Steve Reich, John Luther Adams.

What exactly does the phrase "classical music" mean today?

Join us Saturday nights at 7 on CPR Classical, as we journey through some answers on our new show, Music Forward.

After 20th century composers like Dmitri Shostakovich, Bela Bartok and Benjamin Britten made their marks, minimalist composers like Philip Glass and Steve Reich broke new ground in the 1960s and 70s. Today, their sounds are part of the classical mainstream. Composers like John Adams, Arvo Part and John Corigliano furthered this tradition throughout the 1980s and 90s.

Exciting pieces are written and recorded today with wide ranging influences. Musical boundaries are falling down. Some of this music features familiar sounds. Some charts new sonic territory. In both cases, it's fun to explore these works and learn how they're created.

You might also hear well-known classics in a fresh way. After hearing a piece John Adams based on musical fragments by Beethoven, I went back to Beethoven’s original composition. I found the Adams gave me a fresh set of ears to hear Beethoven.

Today, younger artists like Missy Mazzoli and Mason Bates are redefining music once again, bringing everything from rock and folk influences to electronic beats to the concert hall.

Saturday nights beginning in June, we'll explore contemporary music from the last century -- and focus on what's being written today, including music by Colorado composers. Plus, we'll hear stories about the artists and their music.

Here’s a taste of what you might hear on Music Forward, featuring footage from the CPR Performance Studio:

Roomful of Teeth

The vocal octet performed music from Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Partita for 8 Voices.’

So Percussion

The ensemble played ‘September’ by group leader Jason Treuting.

Carpe Diem String Quartet

Here’s music from “Fiddle Suite: Montana” by composer and Carpe Diem violist Korine Fujiwara:

Playground Ensemble

The Denver group’s string quartet performs a movement from “String Quartet OCD” by Colorado composer Loretta Notareschi.

Matthew Dane

He performs a work by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail. She wrote it for Dane to play on the viola d’amore.

Music Forward debuts at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 4.